Cardinals considering all avenues for protesting, fighting injustices

Aug 28, 2020, 6:08 PM
Patrick Peterson (21), Corey Peters (98) and Chandler Jones (55) wait for the coin toss prior to an...
Patrick Peterson (21), Corey Peters (98) and Chandler Jones (55) wait for the coin toss prior to an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins , Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rob Schumacher, Pool)
(AP Photo/Rob Schumacher, Pool)

The possibility of sitting out the 2020 opener in two weeks has come up in the Arizona Cardinals’ locker room.

Maybe that lies on the extreme end of how the Cardinals want to do more than condemn racism and police brutality, the latest case involving the Wisconsin police shooting of Jacob Blake.

“There’s been a variety of things that come up, some more extreme than others,” defensive tackle Corey Peters said. “Boycotting Week 1 … obviously that’s something that has been discussed.”

Nothing has been decided after head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the franchise gave players the day off Thursday. Peters said after a Friday scrimmage that conversations are ongoing in the locker room, and one concern about boycotting NFL games is that takes away the players’ speaking platform.

Players in the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS have postponed games this week, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to take the court on Wednesday. While games are set to return in the NBA this weekend, it was a historic step of empowerment for players.

“Bringing the attention is always the first step … and then once we have the attention it’s kind of communicating what we want and what we’d like to see,” said left tackle D.J. Humphries. “Big salute to those guys in basketball who boycotted those games. They grabbed hold of the entire country’s attention. We can’t talk about basketball anymore.

“… (The) world gets to see Black men on camera being emotional about the fears in this world and the things they’ve gone through and their experiences, and I think that’s something that’s almost been a blessing in disguise. Sports is the only thing that’s on TV.”

Now that they as athletes have more attention on them, it’s about what comes out of it.

The Cardinals want organization as they create an action plan.

Peters said the Cardinals want to do what’s in everyone’s “best interests,” and that he believes the players must demand more out of their team owners and leaders but work together to get things changed.

“It’s just about being organized to the point of putting things on paper and giving the organization the opportunity to support us like I know they will,” Peters said. “We’ve talked about a number of things as players, some of the leaders as a team. I’m happy that the organization has decided to be proactive and tried to provide opportunities for us to discuss these issues and be sensitive to them.

“I’d love for the owners and the NFL to take a step up and sort of really lead the charge with the players. I think the one thing that’s clear to me is that a lot of them don’t really understand the issues of our communities. I think it’s going to really fall on the backs of the players to really step up and work with the owners and the league hand-in-hand and lead the charge.”

Humphries echoed those thoughts, adding that the Cardinals must show solidarity in whatever is ultimately decided upon.

“It’s such an emotional time right now,” Humphries said. “The group of guys that we got in the locker room, we want to make sure we got a well thought-out choice on whatever we decide to do and show our solidarity as a unit. We don’t want to just jump out there, all emotions, and worry about what comes with it and what we’re not prepared for.

“Whatever we come out with, we want to be able to be organized and with a plan and stick to it and … understand what we’re fighting for.”

Does that mean kneeling during the anthem? Creating action plans? Time will tell.

As for the possibility of boycotting a game or more, it hasn’t crossed Kingsbury’s desk.

“I haven’t heard that specifically from any of the players,” he said Friday, “but I know they’re passionate about the topic and they want real change.”

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